25 NFL Players Have Already Opted Out of the 2020 Season

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody else surprised by the number of NFL opt outs we’ve seen this week?

It’s a high number, 25 players who have decided to sit out the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eagles receiver Marquise Goodwin is among that group.

You’ll see more opt outs as the week continues. This is based on the agreement between the league and union, which allows a seven-day window for players to decide whether they’d like to play or skip the 2020 campaign. With both parties signing the training camp agreement on July 24th, that window takes us until this Friday, so you’ll see more opt outs over the next 48 hours.

Here’s the full list so far:

  1. Saints TE Jason Vander Laan
  2. Saints TE Cole Wick
  3. Ravens KR  De’Anthony Thomas
  4. Ravens OL Andre Smith
  5. Cowboys CB Maurice Canady
  6. Cowboys CB Stephen Guidry
  7. Packers WR Devin Funchess
  8. Bills DT Star Lotulelei
  9. Chiefs OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
  10. Texans DT Eddie Vanderdoes
  11. Patriots OL Marcus Cannon
  12. Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower
  13. Patriots FB Dan Vitale
  14. Patriots RB Brandon Bolden
  15. Patriots OL Najee Toran
  16. Patriots S Patrick Chung
  17. Eagles WR Marquise Goodwin
  18. Seahawks OL Chance Warmack
  19. Vikings DT Michael Pierce
  20. Titans OL Anthony McKinney
  21. Washington DE Caleb Brantley
  22. Panthers LB Jordan Mack
  23. Bears DT Eddie Goldman
  24. Broncos DT Kyle Peko
  25. Jets OL Leo Koloamatangi

There are a couple of different designations for these players.

Those considered “high risk” can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season if they decide to opt out. If a player does not have any risk, but simply chooses to opt out for personal or family reasons, he can earn $150,000. Right now Michael Pierce, Marcus Cannon, and Caleb Brantley are in the “high risk” category. Pierce has a respiratory issue, Cannon is a cancer survivor, and Brantley’s qualifier is unspecified, though he’s dealt with injuries over the course of his career.

The takeaway, other than the raw number, is how many big names appear on this list. Goldman, Lotulelei, Hightower, Duvernay-Tardif, and a few others are starters, guys who play key roles for their team and earn a significant amount of money. They’ve gotta do what’s best for them and their families, and I’m sure those were difficult conversations and difficult decisions to make.

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